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Prez Reviews 91X's New Alternative Songs for 2022


President Squidward
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Been wanting to make something like this for a long time now. I've been in a major alternative kick since last year, the first time since 2017 I was constantly listening to my local radio station in San Diego california that focuses on alternative rock music called 91X. You are probably familiar with my obsession of them in recent times. Especially with their return to a more "varied" playlist like they were years ago. So far after the fantastic XYZ playlist, some songs haven't been played since that event and it's mostly just an 80s-90s alt station with deemphization of the 2000's and 2010's stuff I loved as much (91X's top 91 lists every year has a lot of great songs, even in a time where Billboard alt charts was taken over by very few artists like Imagine Dragons, AJR, X Ambassadors, etc. in the 10s). And the only days they try to switch it up is on Sundays, with their many shows, such as Resurrection Sunday (the deep cuts of 80s-early 90s artists pretty much), as well as Church of Bob (Bob Marley and other reggae artists), then Loudspeaker later at night (local bands) and FTW: New Music Show (where a lot of great new songs from a range of independant artists get played for an hour, some known and some obscure, as well as most of them never being played again, and it's on 11PM at night). I've been trying to get them to be more varied than that with the playlists during the week being very repetitive every two days, with very few surprises. No luck so far but hoping for this direction to be successful later.

Back to this year though, I was originally planning on reviewing the Top 91 list of 2021 last year, but decided to do that another time and focus on what they've been playing as new music since their new direction in February. The furthest I've tracked on Tunegenie was March 12th, and I wrote down at least 55 songs since then, which I will listen to and give my thoughts on in this topic. 

This doesn't include the FTW New Music songs, which would add the count to over a hundred. Maybe if more get played outside of the program like I would love 91X to do I will review them. So, lets begin!

1. Inhaler - Cheer Up Baby

Release Date: March 17th, 2021

Spoiler

 

We start with the invasion of U2, just like my station has been playing since the revival of the old format, but this time, it's Bono's son with his own band.

I think my opinion of U2 being a boring band has changed quite a bit. I forgot about a few songs they made that I did love, like New Years Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday is fine but still enjoyable, In the Name of Love is alright, I know I'm forgetting more, but they do still have quite a bit of mediocre singles that get played constantly on 91X. They definitely are a love it or hate it band for some, but I am amazed they're pretty popular on rym during their heyday.

Now onto Inhaler, this song and the album to go along with it. "It Won't Always Be Like This" did come out in early 2021, and this song did appear on 91X's top 91 list last year. But, it's still been being played as "Good New Music" a lot since March, so I have to count it.

Now onto the song, Elijah Hewson sounds too much like his father that it makes me feel like it's a later U2 song that isn't hateable, but also isn't amazing. It's very well played, I think the guitars and drumming have more power than Elijah's voice, who's just.. there. And the melody itself just isn't too catchy but isn't very boring either. It's hard to rate this one since it has aspects I like about it but yet it doesn't feel enough for it to be a 6 for me.

5/10

2. girl in red - i'll call you mine

Release Date: April 30th, 2021

Spoiler

 

Another song that appeared on the Top 91 last year (same with her song, Serotonin, which I find iffy, kind of annoying in some parts but isn't the worst thing either). Norway bedroom pop artist girl in red is a new artist, kind of in the realm of dark zoomer artists making songs with lyrics about mental health and love. It seems like judging by popular opinion, she's mixed with people on RYM for example, kind of finding her pop to be awful. I don't plan on hearing this album ever, but with I'll Call You Mine, I think this is better than Serotonin. It has more of that alternative sound mixing with pop, kind of a bit of a country vibe at some parts where I think of Miley Cyrus singing it, and the melody is gorgeous. Definitely a highlight for top 91 last year, and I think it's cool they're continuing to play it for 2022. It's pretty good alt pop just like what Billie Eilish is doing, though I think Billie Eilish didn't make any bad songs like Serotonin. 😛 

7/10

 

3. Hippo Campus - Ride Or Die

Release Date: January 11th, 2022

Alright, our first 2022 song. This is from a band I never heard of before, but have been around since 2013. Fans seem to love their first album, Landmarks, and this song as well as their album, LP3, seems to go into a poppier direction. The first time 91X played this band on rotation for new music, and for my first impressions on this song, I'm getting mixed vibes here. The vocals range from sounding good to kind of irritating, definitely gets better for me outside of the beginning. I also hear a bit of Vampire Weekend but if they weren't as good, and Jonas Brothers in the vocals? The melody and music itself is meh, I think this did grow on me a second listen, but I don't know if it'll raise higher. I've heard much better indie pop.

For now, I'd say it's a

4/10

 

4. Wet Leg - Chaise Longue

Release date: June 15th, 2021

Spoiler

 

Oh boy, I get to talk about this one I was memeing and mocking last year. 

Wet Leg has been a breakthrough band for indie, getting good reviews from Fantano, Pitchfork, and many in the indie realm. I've seen Pitchfork compare their style as sounding like a good fit for 2000's indie rock, and I can kind of hear it in this song and Wet Dream. I always did say it sounded like iPod commercial music. I hate that comparison though since it's such an easy way to describe any alternative song nowadays.

When it first came out, I thought it was very mediocre, and I thought the goofy lyrics of the big D and Mean Girls sexual references to be so bad it was funny, but I think the ironic listening turned unironic and now I can enjoy this and see the lyrics as goofy fun. And the music is well played, maybe doesn't interest some, but I think it gets enough of your attention compared to something like Inhaler or Gang of Youths. 

6/10

5. Gang of Youths - in the wake of your leave

Release Date: January 7th, 2022

Spoiler

 

Speaking of Gang of Youths, their first single 91X played last year for their 2022 album, The Angel of 8th Ave, I felt was boring. I still stand by it, which sucks because I love the guitar work in the beginning of it, and the band can play well, but there's something about it that just doesn't get out of mediocre territory for me, like Inhaler or U2. Maybe I'm not a heartland rock guy, which that song has in it. 

After getting played a lot for 2021 and early 2022, looks like 91X stopped after the new direction, and is now playing their second single. What are my thoughts on this one? Can Gang of Youths win me over?

...

I think this one makes me like The Angel of 8th Ave a little more. Kind of has the same tempo and feel of The Angel of 8th Ave, but now in a moody symphony way. Still not the worst song ever, but there's nothing I get much emotion out of, just kind of there.

4/10

 

Alright, that's my first batch of songs I'm reviewing. Things will get more interesting and better. 91X is playing a lot of cool stuff that 94.9, owned by Audacy, is straight up ignoring, only a selected few are played, along with Machine Gun Kelly (ugh), Bring Me the Horizon (which I do like and is fitting for alt radio but Die4U is a mixed bag), and The Maine/Taking Back Sunday collab I do like in a way but Charlotte Sands isn't a good fit. My reviewing is a bit lame, so I hope I improve of that as well. Any of these songs playing on your local stations? Thoughts on these songs?

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opinionz:

-I'll say first thing that I didn't even know Inhaler's frontman is actually Bono's son until you've mentioned it. "Cheer Up Baby" is a fine song, but I hope that the majority of their music isn't too U2-leaning, only knowing this one particular song.
-I like girl in red, so I've come to like "I'll Call You Mine" right away. also obligatory "serotonin" doesn't deserve this slander but I can see why you dislike it post.
-I also like "Ride or Die" just fine, but surely there are more interesting indie pop out there compared to this.
-Always liked "Chaise Longue" eccentric sense of humor and unique sound and I still do. Wet Leg released their debut album earlier this month, which I need to get into.
-Gang of Youths definitely seems the type of band one would enjoy if one has the patience to be invested in their songwriting and gimmick. Most of their previous singles are similar to "angel of 8th ave." length-wise, and I feel like it's the payoff is what counts most of the time, since that's the main reason why I liked "angel of 8th ave." quite a lot. I haven't listened to the newest single nor their newest album that it's from, but I feel like I may like this one too.

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It's time to do the next batch

6. FOALS - Wake Me Up

Release Date: November 4th, 2021

Spoiler

 

FOALS is back. I remember them from their hit in 2015, Mountain at My Gates, which I did enjoy. They also had a couple albums in 2019, I don't know if 91X played them, probably did, but I wasn't listening to alt radio in 2019. This new single takes the band in an alternative dance approach, and I say this is a good, funky track that I'm surprised 91X isn't playing a lot still. I forget what times they played this song though when recording this list. I think most of it was in the early mornings, but I know nowadays they do give some new songs the light of day during the day, Rex Orange County's KEEP IT UP has gotten many appearences in the day but is now not being played as much anymore, and when it is, it's in the mornings. I'm sure it appeared once in the day. Anyway, this is a good song and I wouldn't turn the dial for this one.

6/10

 

7. Muse - Won't Stand Down

Release Date: January 13th, 2022

 

Spoiler

 

Oh boy, we get to talk about everyone's favorite hated band! Muse used to be at the top at their game in the 00's, I love albums like Absolution and Black Holes and Revelations, I still haven't heard Origin of Symmetry, so I can see why everyone is so sad to see how Muse has been doing since then, slowly making more and more crap, according to fans at least.

Me, however, I feel like I never hated their output after Black Holes and Revelations. I think it just hasn't been as good. Their last great song was Undiscloused Desires. Madness is fine, but I heard it too much. Drones's singles I don't remember as much, only Dead Inside which I thought it was okay, Psycho I don't remember most of, I hated Pressure when it first came out, but now I like it. And feel nostalgic for it for some reason? And Dig Down from 2017 I like as well, so when I hear this single, I think it's okay, not the best of Muse, but nothing I hate about it. They go a metal route in this one and it sounds good, but the chorus and verses just aren't strong enough for it to hit a good mark for me, only an okay, but not something I would skip. Compliance is a worse single but I don't hate that one either, we'll get to that though later.

5/10

 

8. The Black Keys - Wild Child

Release Date: March 10th, 2022

Spoiler

 

And now, for a band I can't stand. I thought the early 10s Black Keys singles were great, most of them I got tired of but can still enjoy sometimes. Fever is their best one, but around 2019 when I did hear their songs from Lo-Hi still being played on the radio in 2021 next to Cage the Elephant, who have been mediocre since 2014, I started to just get annoyed of hearing Black Keys's new stuff being so lazy and boring. Maybe their 2000's stuff was really good, seems to be their highest rated albums on Rateyourmusic, but I guess I'm tired of hearing them played constantly over so much other good artists to come out in the 2010s, Foster the People, Tame Impala is gone now, only Elephant remains, Pond gets straight up ignored outside of FTW, Placebo is back with a new album but they've been at it since the 90s, but their new singles are so great, and it gets ignored for The Black Keys replays and this new bland single. It's well played, but the chorus and verses are so lazy. Everything about it feels phoned in. It's Black Keys at their worst. At least in the early 10s, they felt more exciting, Little Black Submarines is pretty good, I like Tighten Up still, the other singles I like less now from Brothers and El Camino but they're still better than this. The White Stripes are the superior blues and garage rock band.

4/10

9. Spoon - The Hardest Cut

Release Date: October 28th, 2021

Spoiler

 

Ah, Spoon. I love this band. Very consistent over the years, and underrated in a sense too. Especially on 91X, they need to give them more love, I'm happy they are with this new album singles, but for the old songs they need to as well, IMO. 

This song grew on me on second listen. I heard it when traveling to Ohio on Alt Nation, thought it was good, but didn't remember it, now I think it grew on me. Very chill garage rock type stuff, but better than the Black Keys. Memorable, good chorus, played well. I love it. I don't know why I can't feel anything above a 6, but it's a great 6. I'm weird with my ratings I know I'm sorry.

6/10

10. TURNSTILE - Mystery

Release Date: May 26th, 2021

Spoiler

 

Another ALL CAPS band, this one I never heard of before but they look like they're a big punk/post-hardcore band on Rateyourmusic, with Glow On being their highest rated. This album is from 2021, but 91X started playing this song this year, it's okay. I don't get the hype too much though, it feels too quietly mixed for something that should be a bit louder for post-hardcore to give it that power. I like some melodic singing bits, some of it is just kind of there for me. It also feels too short, but it looks like all their songs on this album are, so it's what they do I guess. :p 

5/10

Alright, the next set of songs are gonna be a bit bland for me. First one is Snail Mail.

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God I'm so late. Sorry about that, everyone. OCD and waiting for the right time to strike without compulsing or intrusive thoughts annoying you will do that to you lol.

Anyway, it's crazy how much has happened since the last time I reviewed. Got requests in left and right. Got the station to actually want to meet up with me sometime in the end of the month or September (I'm assuming, depends how covid protocols are for their office), super exciting stuff.

11. Snail Mail - Valentine

Release Date: September 15th, 2021

Technically from last year and either not noticed by 91X til after XYZ or was rotated in late 2021-mid 2022. It's gone off of rotation now but I was hoping since I last reviewed songs this would grow on me more. But, it's still around the 5/10 mark. Has a good chorus though but the verses don't do much. The message of the song is sweet though. Synths don't do enough for me even though they're kinda nice to me? idk lol

5/10

12. Mitski - The Only Heartbreaker 
Release Date: November 9th, 2021

Think this is the first time 91X has paid attention to Mitski outside of Tim Pyles's (I'm sure he has given her love on his FTW shows). This is a nice synthpop type tune. Need to check out her discography since I like this! Love Me More, which 91X played later on, is better to me. But this is still good! And apparently was advertised by Audacy as well alternative wise but I swore it never got played on their stations outside of that one Chicago indie station they got.

6/10

13. Band of Horses - Warning Signs

Release Date: March 4th, 2022

 

 

This one grew on me a lot! It took forever too lmao, thought it was a bit boring at first from a band I thought in the past had so much great singles (Is There a Ghost, which I forgot about until XYZ lol, as well as Casual Party), but this is such a pretty single. Very chill too lol

7/10

14. Liam Gallagher - Everything's Electric

Release Date: February 3rd, 2022

 

 

This was another one that grew on me like crazy lol, I fucking love everything about this, the chorus is powerful and pretty! Liam's voice is still pretty good after all these years since his older days in Oasis! Need to check out this album, even if I admittedly didn't care about the single he released after this lol

 

15. The War On Drugs - I Don't Live Here Anymore

Release Date: September 15th, 2021 

 

One of the songs that made it on the top 91 in 2021 last year (#35), this was another band I wasn't too interested in hearing whenever it came on, but as I've started listening more to this station and giving many new songs second chances, this is another one I think I like a little more now, a very heartland rock and new wave type song that feels like it was made in the 80's, it's okay. I could keep this on the radio without feeling bored.

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Alright, let's continue this. I can't keep slacking off lmaooo

16. Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under 

Release Date: July 7th, 2021

 

I like this song. Blew up around last year and continued onto this year, which tells of Sam's experiences at age 17, which are rather dark with people kicking Tom's head in and snuff videos. It's a fun, memorable sounding Heartland rock song that is up there with Killers quality to me, and kind of gives me vibes of something that could've been big in the 80's with it's drums and rhythm.

7/10

17. Eddie Vedder - Brother the Cloud

Release Date: January 14th, 2022

 

Ah, Eddie Vedder, one of 91X's major rock darlings. He is a great grunge legend and I enjoy plenty of Pearl Jam. The thing is how much I'm a bit tired of Pearl Jam overkill (Especially with the lack of the deep ones that got played a lot back then, as well as great solo stuff like Hard Sun). I remember being iffy on Long Way, which made it to the Top 91 of last year, which is Eddie being too bland for me. This track however off his Earthling album, has more power to it, a better melody, maybe suffers a bit from that generic sounding production a lot of old acts like Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Idol did with their comebacks this year to sound modern and clean, or Pixies. But, this still feels recognizable as a Eddie Vedder song compared to the others, and doesn't hold it back much.

6/10

18. Beach House - Once Twice Melody 

Release Date: November 9th, 2021

 

 

Beach House????? On 91X? Yeah it happens when you're an independent commercial alt station, they've definitely made appearances in the past, but I forget which, maybe FTW: New Music Show from Tim Pyles and not a rotated new single, this is probably the first time it's happened for Beach House. And my, this is a gorgeous track. Hits all my buttons for melodic, dreamy pop that gives me vibes to Stereolab's The Flower Called Nowhere, which is another gorgeous space age pop sounding track. I need to check out both artists because I'm obviously missing out on a lot lmao

10/10

19. Wet Leg - Wet Dream

Release Date: October 2nd, 2021

 

I remember memeing Wet Leg to death last year after getting back into alt radio, and feeling rather confused by the hype of Chaise Longue with it's rather goofy lyrics, but then I got into that song as 2021 was ending, this was the other single following up their unexpected (and possibly non-organic) success from the start, but screw it, this indie band is fun. This song is also fun, not my favorite compared to later singles like Angelica, or Chaise Longue, but it's still nostalgic in a way, kinda gives me 00's-10's vibes and hearing this in the most fun shampoo commercial ever made. Idk what to say lol

High 6/10

20. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats - Survivor

Release Date: August 17th, 2021

 

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, BeerX legends (they did do a kickass show I saw clips of after that 91X concert event back in August), you're probably familiar of with songs like S.O.B. which took over alternative back in 2015-2016, SON OF A BITCH is a classic but one I think I've heard a little too much all year, considering it's one of the very few 2010's songs on constant rotation on 91X's new format since February (same with You Worry Me from 2018, which I find alright), this new album from last year however, has this single, which is easily my favorite Nathaniel Rateliff song ever so far. Kick ass chorus, good production, not boring, it's good for some Rhythm and Blues in the modern era. Makes me want to check out more rhythm and blues honestly, and with more singles coming down the rope, this is easily my favorite one I wish was rotated again.

8/10

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